Francoeur to Philly? Burrell to Atlanta? Speculation for now, but let’s make this happen!

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Last thing I take out of that Rosenthal column* this morning:

One potential landing spot for Jeff Francoeur: Philadelphia . . . The Braves, again seeking outfield help, are among the clubs that could take a look at Pat Burrell.

Before anyone goes nuts, remember: there’s a difference between an actual rumor and a reporter playing the “this guy would be a good fit here” game.  So much of that latter stuff gets repeated as actual news when, really, it’s nothing more than people chatting to kill the time.  That said:

  • Both would make some amount of sense in that Frenchy can at least pretend to be the right-handed portion of a platoon and Burrell, for all of the holes in that swing, would actually represent an improvement for the Braves’ atrocious outfield;
  • Rosenthal was the first guy to be talking about the Cliff Lee/Roy Halladay trade last year. At the time everyone thought that was pure speculation too; and
  • While I’d hope that both the Braves and Phillies would aim higher to address their needs, I can’t imagine a situation that would give me more satisfaction than seeing Philly fans go nuts when Francoeur does Jeff Francoeur things. And if Burrell had one big hit to beat Philly in 2011, he’ be worth his salary and strikeouts in schadenfruede value alone.

So, yes, this is just “this guy would fit here stuff” right now. But a boy can dream, can’t he?

*At this point allow me to note that while I do my fair share of criticism of, well, everyone, I am a big fan of Ken Rosenthal. We disagree a lot when it comes to commentary — steroids stuff, competitive balance stuff, etc. — but as a reporter I really dig his work. He’s not always right. No one in the news and rumors game is. But he’s right just as often if not a bit more than most. More importantly, he has what I feel to be the right temperament for the job. You never hear him piling on players or organizations the way so many (myself included, I must admit) so often do.  Personally speaking, he’s unfailingly polite and gracious. I ripped a column of his to shreds once and he sent me an email defending his argument that was way nicer than I deserved. Made me feel like a schmuck. Which is good, because I was being a schmuck. I still behave like a schmuck sometimes, but I try to do it a bit less because as a result of Rosenthal’s graciousness.

I’m not going to canonize the guy or anything — we’re all human, and he’ll likely write something in the next couple of months that will have me tearing what’s left of my hair out — but there are only a handful of reporters who do what he does. Some are good. Some are bad. Some are hostile or arrogant or simply refuse to engage readers, critics and other writers at all. Rosenthal is better than that, and he deserves an occasional shoutout for it.

Watch: Shohei Ohtani strikes out his first spring training batter

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Sure, spring training games don’t count toward anything “real,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy Angels’ star pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani mowing down his first big league competitors.

On Saturday, Ohtani took the mound against the Brewers for his first official outing in an Angels uniform. After allowing a leadoff double to Jonathan Villar, the 23-year-old righty settled down and issued a three-pitch strikeout to Nate Orf, his first of the spring.

It wasn’t the cleanest inning for the right-hander: the Brewers plated their first run on a walk, wild pitch and subsequent throwing error by catcher Martin Maldonado. Ohtani didn’t let things unravel further, however, and induced a pop-up for the second out before catching Brett Phillips looking on a called strike three to end the inning.

While the two-way phenom only lasted another two batters (a Keon Broxton dinger finished him off in the second), he’s already started to look like a formidable presence on the mound. Time will tell whether he can deliver at the plate as well — rumor has it he could feature in the Angels’ lineup as soon as Monday.